College-prep charter school plans ahead for its students—virtually and in person.
Above:Zoe Boul, class of 2021, performs an original song at Club VIP, the school’s
live-performance show produced and performed by the students of Chuck
Cochran’s Music Lab—one of the signature arts programs at VIPHS.
How do you create an active and fun school culture … when students are required to learn from home? Valley International Preparatory High School has found the key: You keep things new and exciting while maintaining the vibrant college-preparatory environment that students and parents have come to expect.
One of the most exciting developments on the horizon for Valley International Preparatory High School is its new, 30,000- square-foot Northridge facility that is being readied for January occupancy. “We are delighted by our progress in moving out of our facility at Chatsworth High and into our very own building!” says Anne Cochran, VIP’s executive director and a cofounder of the 6-year-old charter high school.
VIP originally opened in 2014 and joined with a charter management organization. It was granted its own charter in 2018 by the Los Angeles Unified School District and technically opened as a new independent high school that fall. Having now graduated five senior classes within the course of two school iterations, the program is clearly delivering on its mandated mission of providing students with individualized, comprehensive college-admission preparation within a small and supportive learning community.
“Our four-year-college admission and matriculation results continue to surpass those of other Valley-located public high schools,” principal Michael Horne says proudly. “The majority of VIP’s alumni enter four-year colleges with plenty of viable choices and financial aid.”
“Our grads can be found in private and public institutions throughout North America and Europe,” adds Anne. “They attend Dartmouth, Yale, University of Chicago, NYU, USC, UC Berkeley, UCLA, CalArts, Berklee College of Music—a wide array of college types and selectivity levels are earned and chosen by VIP graduates.”
This is just one reason why VIP was named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 15 L.A. Public High Schools for Hollywood Families last fall. Students hail from all parts of the Valley and from many other Los Angeles neighborhoods as well—from virtually all walks of life. “We truly are a diverse school in every sense of the word,” says Anne.
Other accolades earned by the school and its students have included state and national awards received by VIP’s speech and debate team—including being named the second-in-the-nation high school program by the National Speech and Debate Association—and capturing the top winner distinction in 2016 and 2017 at the Los Angeles Get Lit Classic Slam. VIP is readying a reprise of its victorious poetry team this year and plans to make its mark at the 2021 Classic Slam.
“The word is getting out about all of the uniquely wonderful things we offer our students.”
The school’s theatre group is a Drama Teachers Association of Southern California winner, and VIP has a unique contemporary music singer-songwriter/production program, Music Lab, led by teacher Chuck Cochran. “I’m looking forward to using online collaboration this fall for my students to write songs, stage live performances online, learn music theory and create recordings as they work from their own home-based music corners,” Chuck shares.
VIP’s staff and administration effectively met the challenges of impromptu distance learning when COVID-19 hit in March, and they have plans to continue to deliver rigorous standards and progressive approaches when they embark on the school’s fall distance-learning plans. “We are poised to deliver one of the most well-executed programs available when we open our fall semester in August. We are mindfully improving our weekly advisory program with the use of the Naviance College and Career Readiness Curriculum,” says VIP’s assistant principal Kathryn Wilbert, who along with Principal Horne is leading the school’s recently approved AP Capstone diploma program from the College Board.
“We are extremely grateful,” says Principal Horne, who invites interested parents and students to join him for biweekly Zoom info sessions about current enrollment for fall 2020. “The word is getting out about all of the uniquely wonderful things we offer our students.”
Valley International Preparatory High School (VIP) | 10027 Lurline Ave., Chatsworth | 818-306-2136 | viphs.org